Chris Murray, RGJ, April 13, 2015
After near-death experience, Pack’s Melcher back on field
During the Wolf Pack football team’s first practice of spring camp, Tucker Melcher ran the wrong route.
It was understandable. He hadn’t gone through a full practice in 15 months. He was playing a new wide receiver position. He was a little rusty. But his position coach, Jim Hofher, still chewed him out.
“I screwed up on one of the routes and Coach Hof got on me pretty good,” Melcher said.
Most players might have been a little down after the slip-up. Melcher was left smiling.
“It stinks getting yelled at, but then I thought, ‘It feels pretty good to be getting yelled at again,'” he said.
That’s because a year ago, Melcher was on a hospital bed, the left side of his body paralyzed, seizures rolling over his body like a wave, his fever nearly hitting 106 degrees, his brain being ravished by an infection, his life on the line, his time on Earth potentially numbered by days, not decades.
Things were so dire that Dr. Jay Morgan, a neurosurgeon, gathered Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian and Melcher’s parents, Bubba and Tracy, at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center to deliver the bad news.
“He said, ‘Your son is fighting for his life right now,'” Bubba Melcher said, still emotional while recalling that day last March.
A year later, when Melcher visits Dr. Morgan, there’s a different message being delivered.
“It’s like what Dr. Morgan says every time we see him,” Bubba Melcher said. “He puts his hands on my shoulder and says, ‘Your son is a miracle. I have no explanation but that your son is a miracle.'”